Architecture in the Real World


This is my second post in the ArchiTalks series. If you are unfamiliar, it is a series of posts by different architects all revolving around a single topic. Today’s topic… Architecture in the real world.  Wow, talk about a rabbit hole.  At the bottom of the page, you’ll find links to all of the others that are participating.  Make sure to check them out, I can almost guarantee they will be some great reads.

So as I am sitting here thinking about this one, why is it that I can’t get the voice of Morpheus out of my head saying “Welcome… to the architecture of the real.”  Come on admit it, you just did your best Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus from the Matrix voice in your head, or was it just me?
If you’ve spent any time in an architectural office or have read any of the blogs, you’ll know the amount of time that has been dedicated to discussing things like lineweights, sketching ability, renderings, etc.  People actually get into big time arguments about this stuff. I know because, well, I’ve been in the middle of some of them. (I might have started a few them, but we don’t need to focus on that.)
A beginning sketch for a new project…
A final layout working in all the required elements…
The final set of construction documents… With some more redlines, of course. 
We spend our entire careers mastering these tools to try and tell the story of what we envision. But at the heart of it, this is not where our passion truly lies. Oh, now don’t get me wrong here.  I’ve had the honor to know some people who are flat out amazing at architectural paintings, renderings, sketches, etc. There are plenty of competitions and awards for examples of these that will completely amaze you.  But I think almost every architect would agree, what we are truly after, where our passion really lies, is the finished project that exceeded our clients expectations and hopefully made a positive impact in the profession. 
I think that I have been luckier than a lot of architects out there.  I have had the opportunity in my career so far to work on a huge variety of projects.   From a 10’x10′ storage space all the way to $100 million+ projects (and, cross your fingers, hopefully in the near future some that even far exceed that).  Exciting and scary at the same time. 
I always get excited to see the lines I draw on paper turn into something real. It’s a hair pulling, finger pointing, restless nights, awesome part of the project.  You’re able to get out of the office and visit the job site.  Something I think everyone at a firm should do from time to time. See here.

A finished council chamber only days before it opened for use.  I’ve been able to visit this one from time to time since it has been in use, and they have kept it looking just as good as the day it opened.
This is a current housing project the firm I am at is working on.  You remember that hair pulling comment earlier, I feel for the guy doing the CA on this project.  It’s going to end up great, just some hiccups along the way since it is a renovation project.
This is the lobby of a conference center I was heavily involved in. The space is absolutely huge for a lobby, but to make the existing and the new work together, this was the solution.  I’ve heard they use it for some more informal gatherings as well.  What was really awesome… the client absolutely loved the final product.
Ok, so I still can’t get Morpheus out of my head with this post and I found a quote from him that I think fits in extremely well.
“What is “real”? How do you define “real”?”
The architecture profession has seen some pretty drastic changes in the last decade or so that I think will have a big effect on not only how we create spaces, but the spaces we create as well.
Oh yeah, don’t forget!  Click on the links below to see how some others responded to “Architecture in the Real World”.

Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture – @FiELD9arch Welcome to the Architecture of the Real

Marica McKeel – Studio MM – @ArchitectMM Architecture in the Real World

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC – @MeghanaIRA Architecture in the Real World

Michael Riscica – Young Architect – @YoungArchitxPDX Architecture in the Real World

Tara Imani – Tara Imani Designs, LLC – @Parthenon1 Architecture in the Real World

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect – @mghottel Architecture in the Real World
Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture – @rogue_architect architecture in the real world: #architalks
Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC – @L2DesignLLC Architecture: It’s a human thing
Mark R. LePage – Entrepreneur Architect – @EntreArchitect The HGTV Affect
Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect – @LeeCalisti Architecture in the Real World
Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet – @Jeff_Echols What is the Real World: Architecture in the Real World
Bob Borson – Life of An Architect @bobborson Architecture in the Real Wolrd … sorta 
Nicholas Renard – dig Architecture – @dig-arch Keep on Architect’n in the Real World 
Andrew Hawkins, AIA – Hawkins Architecture, Inc. – @hawkinsarch Here in the Real World 
Jonathan Brown – Proto-Architecture – @mondo_tiki_man Architecture in the Real World

23 thoughts on “Architecture in the Real World

    1. bpaletz says:

      Agreed, they are very instrumental in documentation, but I am completely over the arguments of whether it should be .028 mm vs .030 mm. Come on people, we got better things to worry about.


  1. Andrew Hawkins, AIA says:

    Nice post. And yes. I am sure almost everyone went in to Morpheus mode. Well at least all the cool kids. Good to see that you are concerned about the real making from page to physical space. Not enough people understand that is what our goal should be. And it is always awesome to me to see my imagination become a reality.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bobborson says:

    For a second there, I thought your article was going to get hijacked into a post on lineweights … that would be a great topic that nobody but architects over the age of 30 would want to read.

    I am glad you included images of projects you worked on. I really do think that there is something that happens when we get a project built. It’s like tonic for not being a starkitect – having a hand in something that is real and you can point at is immeasurably rewarding.

    Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

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